Literally months after most of the people reading this, I should imagine, I hit Naxx for the very first time last night. And it wasn't a particularly auspicious start, to be honest.
We had nine people signed up for the run, and when the start time came we had but seven online, and a quick phone call brought us one of the missing two (the other, we later discovered, had been called away by a family emergency). Eight people for the guild's fourth trip to Naxx. Not good.
Still, off we trundled, one DPS and one healer down. We went through the trash like a knife through butter, and found ourselves at the first boss. And nearly dropped him. A little more care on positioning from the healers, myself included, and we got him second time. We were, to say the least, surprised. He'd been a real issue for the full 10 man teams we'd sent in the past, yet he fell. As did the Grand Window, on the first attempt.
However, we bounced off the third boss once too often, the lack of an extra healer and my tendency to get cocooned costing us dearly.
So we pootled off to Obsidian Sanctum, sliced through the trash, and dropped the first drake – not bad for our first ever trip in there. And then we called it a night.
It was a bizarrely encouraging restart of raiding for the guild. Sure, we were two people short. But even in a combination of quest blues and greens, plus some badge and crafted gear, we could put out the damage and healing to get bosses down. With a couple of extra people, we should be gearing up pretty fast.
I'm getting to the point many of you have been for a long while: the end of Wrath questing. I have the achievement for every zone, bar Northrend, and I'm 102/140 there, at the time of writing. A few solid hours of playtime, and I'm done with the main questlines in Wrath.
With a couple of hours to spare, I went daily crazy:
And the verdict?
That's something I don't want to do again in a hurry. Doing 25 daily quests is very, very different from doing 25 normal quests. You know how it will pan out. You know how the quest plays out. It's familiar.
Now, that can be part of the appeal. I'm a big fan of most of the Knights of the Ebon Blade dailies, for instance. Fun, varied, quick and good rep. On the other hand, the Sons of Hodir dailies are a bit of a pain in the arse already, and I'm only half way to Revered.
I suddenly realise when so many of my guildies are running alts right now: there's only so may dailies you can do in a day. And running an alt, even through quests you've done before, gives you a whole new perspective on them.
So, that's the plan: clear Icecrown, finish up my manifold group quests, grab Heroics wherever I can, do a set number of dailies and devote the rest of the time to an alt.
OK, OK, I admit it. I'm hooked. My fishing has lain moribund since I left Outland and its fishing dailies behind. But the new dailies have me going again, with my fishing rising rapidly, and my cooking to match. By the time the guild is raiding Naxx regularly, I should be a regular contributor of food into the raid consumables, as I've already got a huge stack of Northern Spices and most of the fish recipes. The eating's going well, too:
Fishing, of itself, is a very dull micro-game. But putting some of this other stuff around it really makes it much more fun. I hope Blizz takes the effort to add some more dailies into the rotation with each patch, because it's a great way to kill 5 mins10 mins 15 minutes in game.
I got a notice this morning that my copy of Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
has shipped – which is unfortunate, given that I'm not going to be at the location it'll be delivered to until next week. But I am looking forward to reading it (you can catch a preview of it on the latest BlizzCast) – and I'm looking forward to other people reading it, too.
Well, it's the lore nerd in me. I get disproportionately annoyed by people who make comments like this:
he was a pally not a shaman
Because the Lich King may look like Arthas Menethil, fallen paladin, but he is actually a composite being, owing as much of its existence to the soul of Ner'zhul, the orc shaman who was contacted by the Burning Legion, and who unwittingly put them on the path to demonic taint and the Horde. Oh, and who blew up Dreanor so he could escape. Nice chappie. And yes, that does mean that the Lich King is a Paladin – Death Knight – Shaman – Warlock multiclasser.
Bit of a twink, if you ask me…
Still, I hope the book will remind more people of the dual nature of the Lich King, as I'm sure it'll be important as we approach the end of this expansion. It's not just the mind of a young paladin we face, but the devious mind of a fallen orc who sold out his people for power, brought down genocide on the Draenei and has been tortured for years by the Burning Legion.
To be fair to the "he was a pally" chap above, most people in the setting have no way of knowing that the Lich King is more than Arthas. And I doubt very many, if anyone, know the identity of the spirit that was bound to that suit of armour. But I'm sure this fact will be important as the story of the Lich King plays out.
The thing is, right, we now have a whole range of healy tree form goodness that we didn't have last time around. Nourish, and Wild Growth and glyphs have allowed much more variety of healing style, allowing us to move away from Lifebloom-centric healing.
I'll keep building three stacks on the tank. But I'm looking forward to hearing the bloom effect a lot more often.
I know it seems traditional to hate the returned king of Stormwind, because he's getting all aggressive with the Horde and because he's hatin' on everyone's favourite orc, Thrall, but I think he's great.
Why? Well, for one, I think his complete and utter mistrust of the Horde is completely justified, as Lorecrafted points out, in great detail. And that's without mentioning the fact he was enslaved and forced to fight by orcs, or him witnessing the Warsong Clan's atrocities in Ashenvale, or that he's just seen off one of the Black Dragonflight, who have allied with the Horde in the past…
Varian is very much Thrall's darker opposite. The War Chief has been repeatedly exposed to the best of human nature down the years, while the King has had the very worse of Orc behaviour thrust into his life. And his charge that Thrall doesn't have a good grip on the Horde is more than justified. We might not be comfortable with his actions, or his view, but they are understandable, and just possibly right.
And my goodness, we didn't have this level of plot advancement in WoW a year ago, did we? Blizz really have driven the narrative aspect of WoW forward with this expansion.
Oh, and Mrs Dr Leafy and I are busy house-hunting, which is keeping me away from the iMac at weekends. (And we just celebrated six years of marriage! Yay!)
Oh, and we have a friend staying for a few weeks, which is denying me access to the study most evenings.
So, actually, my WoW time has been pretty light for the last few weeks. I'm steadily working my way through the Icecrown quests (72 of 140 right now, and just hit the first of what many people have warned me will be umpteen group quests), and I've been busy getting gear crafted with the hope of starting raiding in a few weeks when my schedule opens up a bit more.
But for now, well, it's all a bit quiet. And that seems to be guild-wide, right now.